Renting property through social media is becoming increasingly common, so you may not think twice when seeing an advert for a property on Facebook.
But I recently heard a story from a fellow lettings agent about someone being duped by a fake landlord which really made me sit up and take notice.
The perpetrator had created a fake listing on Facebook after stealing the images and description of a property from Rightmove – something which takes a matter of minutes on a computer.
An unsuspecting tenant saw the listing and made an enquiry. She was told they could secure the property by paying a £600 deposit and a month’s rent – another £600 – in advance.
The fake landlord then told her she couldn’t view the property because the keys were not available, but despite that the tenant was still keen on progressing and it wasn’t until she was asked to pay a £400 maintenance fee via a Moneygram transfer that she realised something was wrong.
After contacting the letting agent which originally listed the property on Rightmove, the tenant realised she had been conned.
This kind of scam is becoming more and more common and I would strongly urge you to be extremely careful when replying to private listings. Of course, some good landlords will advertise their properties privately but by going through a reputable lettings agency you will be protected from any scams like this.